The last major engagement of the American Revolution ended on Oct. 19, 1781 at Yorktown, Virginia. Although the surrender of Lord Cornwallis’ besieged troops all but ended the fighting, it would take negotiators nearly two years to hammer out the terms of the divorce in Paris. Negotiations were complicated by a vast array of issues both large and small, among them fishing rights off the Grand Banks and beaver pelts quotas in the West. Upon such things the future is written.

Back in Philadelphia, a weak and divided Congress governed a country not-yet born and made plans for an uncertain future during the long twilight of the colonial era. With British troops still occupying New York, Gen. George Washington contended with an unpaid Continental Army with too much time on its hands. In March 1783, the Commander-in-Chief barely managed to talk his officers out of staging a coup against a bankrupt Congress that had no money to pay them. When word of a final peace arrived in November, he was outraged when the august body adjourned without making final arrangement to pay Washington’s men.

More than two centuries later, NASA Administrator Charles Bolden finds himself in a not dissimilar position. In his case, the stakes are significantly lower and the time frame much compressed. But, exasperating it is just the same.

(…) Read the rest of NASA’s Forecast: Foggy With a 100 Percent Chance of Uncertainty (1,073 words)

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(C) Douglas for Parabolic Arc, 2010. | Permalink | No comment | Add to Post

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